Interview with the Founder - One Year Anniversary
Happy Anniversary to the Alexander Hamilton Awareness Society!
Congratulations on THE AHA SOCIETY'S first anniversary. What led to its creation?
Rand Scholet: "Three years ago I was proceeding through life just fine with my favorite Founding Fathers – George Washington, Benjamin Franklin, and Thomas Jefferson from the history I learned in school and articles I read thereafter which reinforced that perception. I then started reading for my own personal interest to learn more about what made the country great, who made the major contributions, and what were the debates and struggles that forged the United States. Well, two years and over 34,000 pages later my understanding and life had changed dramatically. Part of it was humbling to realize how ignorant I had been. Another realization was sadness because most of these incredible Founders and key contributors were either completely lost to the nation’s consciousness, or often misrepresented, else narrowed down to foolish simplicities, like George Washington’s cherry tree story and his wooden teeth – and neither are true!
The biggest surprise was about a year into my readings. I knew practically nothing about Alexander Hamilton…and some of the comments made about him were quite unflattering so why would I have been interested in spending any time learning about someone like that. So for the first year I was able to continue my indifference to the man. I got curious along the way for two reasons. First, there was an occasional impressive statement made about him…but it was always so diffused through the various books that there was no way to get a full sense of who Hamilton was. Second, Thomas Jefferson and John Adams had some very harsh words to say about Hamilton in some of my early readings. I became curious about what this dark, shadowy figure could have done to offend them so. Five books later about Hamilton and I started to get a sense that maybe he was more influential than I realized. After the tenth book, my jaw dropped.
Because of my career as a Business Transformation Consultant within the Automotive and Aerospace industry with IBM, I started to see how Alexander Hamilton was able to lift his sights above the difficulties at hand, elevate his view and create a vision that transformed the country. By the time the books I had read on Hamilton totaled thirty-one, it was clear that Hamilton had been maligned, hidden, and misunderstood for the past 100 years and he deserved to have his contributions and reputation restored. The poor people who lived around me at that time…I just kept exclaiming 'You won’t believe what else he did'; 'What he did was genius'; 'He was the driving force for our constitution and economic system'. Alexander Hamilton did so much, that the understanding was difficult to share with most people. After months of frustration, the discovery came on October 8, 2011. Finally, the ability to summarize his greatness in two statements along with the solid proof:
Alexander Hamilton was George Washington’s Indispensable Partner
in War & Peace for Over 22 Years
Alexander Hamilton Created the Vision & Foundations upon which
the UNITED States of America Achieved Greatness
After meeting a few other Hamiltonians, we realized that it would take all our efforts and talents to help the nation and world understand this incredible Founder. On October 11, 2011, the Alexander Hamilton Awareness Society was founded.
On October 12th, THE AHA SOCIETY’S mission statement was defined, as well as a 22-year plan with 18 milestones - including an Alexander Hamilton Memorial in Washington, D.C. and a full-length Hamilton movie that reflects his greatness."
What did THE AHA SOCIETY accomplish over the past year?
Rand Scholet: "We created two PowerPoint presentations and the associated text that communicates the proof of the Essence of Alexander Hamilton’s Greatness: 'Washington’s Indispensable Partner' & 'America’s Indispensable Founder'.
We also wanted active resources and communications with the public in order to link with current Hamiltonians and to inspire new Hamiltonians. We created two major websites - The-AHA-Society.com for the Society’s outreach work and AllThingsHamilton.com, the information portal for all Hamilton information. We began releasing monthly newsletters with a variety of articles on THE AHA SOCIETY'S initiatives and on Alexander Hamilton. We also created Facebook, Twitter, Youtube, and Pinterest accounts.
A high priority for us during the past year was developing key relationships with the National Park Service, the Hamilton family, the Museum of American Finance, and various sites that played an instrumental role in Hamilton’s life, and he in theirs. And from an organizational standpoint, some very dedicated Hamiltonians were selected as Society Chapter Presidents.
Of course, one of our biggest initiatives was Celebrate Hamilton 2012, a program of 15 events in NYC and northeast NJ this past July. As the inaugural year, it was very successful and we look forward to hosting it annually."
What are THE AHA SOCIETY'S goals for its second year?
Rand Scholet: "Currently underway is the publishing of the two volumes of 'The Essence of Alexander Hamilton’s Greatness': Washington’s Indispensable Partner and America’s Indispensable Partner. These books are concise summaries, meant to be a quick read for anyone. They will soon be available for purchase.
We also are working to obtain sponsorship for a 501(c)3 not-for-profit structure with mission-dedicated officers. With that, one of our most necessary goals is to acquire funding to further the effectiveness of the Society’s outreach & plans.
In addition, The Alexander Hamilton Awareness Society will keep doing what made it so successful in its first year - enhancing social media and traditional forms of outreach, working with organizations and historical locations to improve their understanding of Alexander Hamilton, and hosting the Second Celebrate Hamilton Event (July 2013) in NY & NJ.
We will also be expanding to host new events. Our next planned event will be in New York City for Alexander Hamilton's birthday on January 11th. Keep your eye out for details, which will be posted soon!"
Thank you for sharing. Any last words?
Rand Scholet: "I just want to say thank you to all of our followers, our Chapter Presidents, the organizations we've worked with in the past year - none of our initiatives would have been possible without their constant support.
I invite you all to become more active and engaged with the Society this upcoming year as we work together to spread the awareness that Alexander Hamilton deserves. Please keep spreading the message!"